The Desert Vista boys volleyball team nearly climbed out of the depths of elimination Thursday but it proved to be too much for the top-seeded Thunder.

Desert Vista had been able overcome every obstacle all season, but losing the first two games on Gilbert’s home court, a barrier in itself, was their downfall as the fourth-seeded Tigers prevailed 25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 30-28.

“We came out slow and didn’t recover,” senior Brock Wilson said. “We made a run, but it was too much. We had some bad calls, in my opinion, go against us. We just didn’t get the job done.”

The Thunder were up 12-6 in Game 1 but let it slip away after Gilbert took a 19-18 lead. Game 2 was back and forth until the Tigers ripped open a 15-14 lead by pushing the lead to 20-15 before closing it out.

Desert Vista showed some life in Game 3 by finishing on a 12-6 run to erase at 16-13 deficit.

Game 4 was epic as it wasn’t decided until a block by Gilbert’s Jarrett Neal and middle blocker Nic Gibson's 15th kill provided the difference after each team had three shots at game point before it was decided.

“I was proud of the guys responding at the end," Gilbert coach Jeff Grover said. "We had the same thing against Brophy on Tuesday night when they came back and won the third game. Desert Vista had our number the first two times we played. We made some changes with our serving, and they responded with changes to get back in it."

The Thunder felt like it was a disservice to their accomplishments this season to have to play the state semifinal on the court of the lesser seed.

Desert Vista coach Ryan Tolman’s only quote after the match was, “I sure would like to find out how we would do on a neutral court.”

The loss won’t sit well for a long time but eventually the Thunder will realize how special the season was in 2013.

“I loved my teammates like brothers,” senior Ryan Adams said. “We didn’t get what we wanted, but nothing will take away the memories of this team.”

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

(7) comments

Tiger fan
Tiger fan

"The Thunder felt like it was a disservice to their accomplishments this season to have to play the state semifinal on the court of the lesser seed.
Desert Vista coach Ryan Tolman’s only quote after the match was, “I sure would like to find out how we would do on a neutral court.”

Ryan, If you were truly # 1 you win everywhere, at home or away. Maybe you should be playing some regular season games against top ranked teams, like highland, mesa, and gilbert( who played each other twice in the regular season). Who did you play in the regular season to go undefeated????
(Tournament win/losses don't count in rankings). Sour grapes always taste awful!!

Really_QuestionMark
Really_QuestionMark

Home court advantage two years in a row is not right. The volleyball coaches should have done something about it after last year. Bringing it up after you've lost looks like sour grapes, even though you're right. When you get down to the final four, the teams will always be pretty evenly matched, so home court can & does make a difference. There are no other spring sports using the gyms at the high schools, so the the AIA has every gym in the state minus four to choose from plus a number of non-high school options. If cost is an issue and you want to have it at a high school and you need time to plan the logistics, choose a school or two not in the pre-season top 10 and adjust if one or both are a suprise quarter finalist. The situation of having home court advantage in the semi-finals/finals is easily avoidable. This has nothing to do with regular season scheduling, we all know the Power Point system is not a true reflection of team rankings, but it is what it is.

Tiger fan
Tiger fan

Let me get this right..."Home court advantage two years in a row is not right. The volleyball coaches should have done something about it after last year." Y'all have had a year to voice your concerns to AIA about Gilbert hosting the state playoffs this year and did nothing about it???? Even during the 2012 season Gilbert was picked as one of the favorites to make the final four. So you have had almost two years to take some sort of action. Shame on you! Did you not think that Gilbert would be in the finals two years in a row???? Didn't hear the Hamilton or Brophy coaches blame their losses on home court advantage last year. They knew the format before hand and showed class after their losses. Whining, after the fact, gets no accolades. Really????

Really_QuestionMark
Really_QuestionMark

Impartial, unbiased, neutral Tiger fan. I don't expect you to see the absurdity & unfairness of Gilbert or any team for that matter having home court advantage in the semi-finals & finals, but the AIA should without "We'all" having to take some sort of action. And what "action" are "we'all" supposed to take to make the AIA do anything? Looking at the world through your yellow & black colored glasses, if Gilbert really is the best team in the state, why didn't you give up your first round bye and play your matches at the lower team's gym... "If you were truly # 1 you win everywhere, at home or away."

Tiger fan
Tiger fan

Gilbert has done nothing wrong here. They didn't beg to host the final four. It was mandated by the AIA. To host the tournament puts added pressure on the host schools administration. Everyone knew and understood the format and site for a long time. You are crying over spilled milk!! AGAIN!!

I am confused in one post you said; "The volleyball coaches should have done something about it after last year." Then the last post you said, "And what "action" are "we'all" supposed to take to make the AIA do anything? ". Really??? . You are whining AGAIN!! Put on you big boy pants and either take some action or live with it. Same old, same old.

Kudos to DV players for there comments and actions after the game!!! They are a class bunch of guys!!!

"We came out slow and didn’t recover,” senior Brock Wilson said. “We made a run, but it was too much. We had some bad calls, in my opinion, go against us. We just didn’t get the job done.”

And

“I loved my teammates like brothers,” senior Ryan Adams said. “We didn’t get what we wanted, but nothing will take away the memories of this team.”

No whinny comments after the game. Very different from the coach's remarks.

Really_QuestionMark
Really_QuestionMark

I never said Gilbert did anything wrong. The AIA made the unfair decision. I'm not whining, I'm looking at this from a neutral perspective. The question is why can 't you just admit that it IS an unfair advantage? Just because Gilbert was named the host school at the beginning of the season and we all "knew the format" doesn't make it right. Nothing you can say makes it right or fair.When it comes to doing something about it, what I'm saying is that as fans we have no power over the AIA. The coaches & administrators are the ones who need to take action. And if there's so much "added pressure on the host school's administration (really ???)" Why didn't Gilbert "beg" for the location to be moved... maybe the benefit outweighs the "price" they have to pay (i.e., buying all the tickets for the students to pack the stands)! Oh that's right, you don't see anything wrong with this picture. There's a Gilbert player getting kudos for admitting a ball hit him and asked for the call to be reversed... to be "fair". But if Gilbert is all about fairness, why didn't they offer to give up home court advantage? But there I go "whining" again over something that obviusly you don't think exists... home court advantage.

Tiger fan
Tiger fan

Okay, okay. I give up.. just give us the trophy and we will take an asterisk next to it.

I am sure that there will be as many highland fans as Gilbert at the game. Funny that Gilbert is within 5 miles of of three of the final four teams. Did we put guards up to keep opposing fans out of the gym??? You make it sound like DV is I. The other side of the state. Really????

My heart is with Gilbert but if someone said I had to bet my house on the match I would go with Highland, even with home court Advantage. Imagine that?????

I am sure you will find something to whin about this!!

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